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THD Hot Plate Attenuator

The THD Hot Plate adds versatility to your tube amp. By attenuating your stage output, the THD Hot Plate lets you get tube crunch at any volume. (26) Read 6 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
Ships to: Can ship to United States
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Product Description

The THD Hot Plate is one of the most beloved output attenuators on the market. What is a power attenuator? A power attenuator is a device placed between the speaker output and the speaker cabinet. It acts like a huge master volume control and permits the amp to be turned up most or all the way while absorbing most of the power generated by the amplifier and turning this power into heat. It passes a small part of the power to the speaker.

Why do I want one?

THD customers use attenuators because their amps sound good at high volumes, especially with full distortion, but in rehearsal, small clubs, or at home, they can't turn the amp up. They are also used in recording studios for better separation between the instruments, and for use when the speaker sounds best at low levels, or if it can't handle the power output. The Hot Plate also makes a perfect dummy load.

THD needed a good attenuator for their in-house testing of THD amplifiers. The amps have to be tested at all volumes, clean and pure to wild distortion, and they were tired of their ears hurting. All the attenuators on the market muffled the sound and made even THD amps sound dull. Now their design engineers don't have to worry as much about hearing loss, and neither do you.

How does it work?

A THD Hot Plate is a tuned network of capacitors, resistors and inductors which adjusts the overall EQ as the volume is turned down to compensate for the human ear's frequency response. Your ear perceives sounds differently at different volumes: the louder the sound, the more sensitive your ears are to highs and lows. As the volume drops, your ear becomes more sensitive to the mid-range, and less so for highs and lows. The Hot Plate compensates for this, working like the "Loudness" switch on a hi-fi. The THD Hot Plate is the first, and for now, the only attenuator that is frequency compensated.

How do I use it?

The THD Hot Plate is designed for use strictly with vacuum tube guitar amplifiers, and each version is optimized for a specific impedance (2, 2.7, 4, 8, or 16 ohms.) These inductive loads are frequency compensated, which means it will give you the best possible sound for that impedance speaker and amplifier combination.

To use one: connect the speaker output of the amp into the input of the Hot Plate, then connect the speaker cabinet to one of the two speaker outputs of the Hot Plate (doesn't matter which one). The amp thinks the Hot Plate is a speaker, so the sound stays true even when you turn the volume down.

Features

Built-in Noise Reduction
The THD Hot Plate is the only attenuator on the market with built-in noise reduction to reduce the hiss and hum between notes. They've designed a passive, single-ended noise reduction system which provides approximately 10dB of broad band noise reduction without gating or pumping, and without affecting the tone of the amp. A by-product of the noise reduction circuit is that it generates light as you play. The harder you play, the brighter it glows.

Tone Controls
The Hot Plate is also the only attenuator offering a Bright switch and a Deep switch for tailoring your sound. The Bright switch gives you 2 different high frequency levels so you can compensate for an overly bright, or dull speaker cabinet. The Deep switch offers two distinct bass settings to help you fill out the bottom end, or reduce the bass in a cabinet with too much low end.

Adjustable Line Out
THD Hot Plates also feature a Line Out, which is adjustable by its own volume control giving it a wide range of applications. At higher settings, it can provide enough signal to drive the input of a separate power amp for slaving. The middle range of settings is useful for most rack mount effects. And turned most of the way down, the Hot Plate's Line Out will drive the instrument input of another guitar amplifier for extra power and volume.

Will it hurt my amp?

The THD Hot Plate will not damage your amplifier. When you play continuously at full output, you cause your tubes to age more quickly than they would at lower volumes. Using a Hot Plate will maintain the life of your tubes at exactly the same rate, no more or less, as when you play straight through the speaker.

Using a Hot Plate will also not hurt your transformer any more than playing through a speaker, as long as the impedances are matched (i.e. 8-ohm setting on the amp, 8-ohm speakers and an 8-ohm attenuator). If you are using a well-made amp, then the transformer should last indefinitely, regardless of whether you are driving a speaker or attenuator. If you are using an inferior amp and the transformer blows, it would have done this whether you play through a speaker or an attenuator. The Hot Plate puts the same load on the transformer as a speaker (which is why it makes such a good dummy load).

zZounds is an authorized dealer of THD products.
THD Warranty
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 206-781-5500
Customer Reviews
4.5 out of 5 (26 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
This review has been selected by our experts as particularly helpful. "This is the one."
Sound: If you want that cranked power tube distortion sound from your 50-100W tube amp and want it at at reasonable volume, this is the ticket. Much more transparent and better built than the Marshall. Plus, it costs less and is built in the USA. And it's Purple (8 Ohm)! Feature: More than just a straight attenuator, it has noise reduction, bright and deep switches, plus an adjustable line out. I use this in "Load" mode to turn my 50W amp into a preamp, run the HP's line out into a Behringer Ultra-G cab simulator, and right into my PC for midnight recording sessions. Imagine... 2 EL-34s putting out 50W of tube powered volume, and nobody can hear it but me in my headphones! Also works great for getting that too-loud sound at gig volumes while keeping the sound levels appropriate for a small bar or club. Quality: Solid aluminum extrusion chassis with an integrated heat sink. Heavy gauge steel powder coated sides. Use this for self-defense when you gig in an unsavory neighborhood. Value: Like I said, cheaper than the Marshall and MUCH better sounding. Plus, no overheating issues like the Marshall. Manufacturer Support: They treat you like you are their only customer, and they will do whatever is needed to make you happy. Just call or email and ask for Ed. He'll take whatever time is neccessary to help you. The Wow Factor: If you play through tube amps, like the sound of them loud, but want to stay married (not get evicted, keep the gig, etc.), this should be in your bag of tricks. Overall: Some things are staples for the gig bag- spare fuses, tubes, cables, tool kit, a 57, etc. Add this to the list.
Style of Music: Rock, Jazz, Blues, Fusion, (Polka, if the bread is right)
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Sound: i use a 100 watt Hiwatt from '73 through a 4x12 matching cab. the beast needed to be tamed. i could not be happier with the results. at greater levels of attenuation (12-16db), it does change the sound a bit. but i am not suprised by this, the speakers aren't being pushed anywhere near how they are with no hot plate. you lose a bit in the highs and lows, which is what they put the deep and bright sitches on the thing for. when those switches are on, the low end is slightly unnatural, but i dont find it offensive. i just wish i had one when i was playing shows every night. Feature: everything does what it should. great design. Ease of Use: virtually self-explanatory. just make sure you have the impedance issue figured out. Quality: great unit. if only they had come along 15 years ago. would have saved me thousands in crappy distorion pedal purchases. Value: does what i need it to with excellent results. Manufacturer Support: the boys at thd were willing to let me bring my head over to the factory and try one, but i never had time to head over there. i got one anyways on the recommendation of a friend who uses his with his vintage Park 100 watt. but they seem super cool over there. The Wow Factor: glad i have one. Overall: i'll never need another.
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